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Basketball - 28. April 2008.

USA/CHN – Fowles, Leslie lead USA past China

BEIJING (Olympic Test Event) - The United States encountered stiff resistance from China on Thursday for a half but the twin towers of Lisa Leslie and emerging international star Sylvia Fowles fired the Americans to an 86-61 victory at the 2008 Beijing Basketball Test Event.

Both sides have won four of their five games here at the Olympic Stadium and will meet again in 48 hours to decide the title.

Anne Donovan’s team in China is full of youth but three key veterans - Leslie, Katie Smith and Swin Cash – having come with the team to Beijing and their contributions are proving invaluable to a group that has played better with each passing day.

“We were just excited to come into this game today, to have the opportunity to play a China team that we know, over the years, has improved so much,” Cash said.

“I felt that coming out in the first quarter, our team really set the tempo. I have to get a lot of credit to our post players.”

Those “post players” are Fowles and Leslie.

Fowles, 22, was again sensational and on the evidence of her performances, she is a lock to make the American Olympic team.

Fowles and Leslie each scored 14 points in the first half as the USA built a 43-35 lead.

The former had six of her game-high 16 rebounds before the break, and also swatted two shots. She would end up with three in the game.

Leslie, who led all scorers with 26 points (Fowles finished with 20), and the US effectively put the game away in the third quarter when they extended their advantage to 63-48.

“I’d say it’s a fair score,” China coach Tom Maher said.

“For one thing, they’re a lot more athletic, but we have to make sure we do things that we can do. We have to find ways that we can improve.”

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